Rough Times in the Irish Economy

Sixty per cent of Irish households are earning less money this year than last due to the recession, according to a study just released by “Empathy for Friends First,” a market research firm with a rather weird name. Fifteen per cent of Irish folk have had their hours reduced at work, the report noted. At the same time, The Irish Independent says that approximately four companies are going out of business in Ireland every day, with retail and construction firms being hit the hardest. Things aren’t so great in the countryside either. The Irish Emigrant, a favorite website of mine, reports that Irish farmers in Ireland are in the middle of a crushing financial crisis. Average farm income, they report, has fallen 28% this year, and Pádraig Walshe, the president of the Irish Farmer’s Association, says most farmers earn only about 25% of what Irish workers non-farm business make. Part-time farmers, of which there are many on old family farms in rural Ireland, he says, now pull in only about €13k a year from farming.